Firefox eating Internet Explorer’s lunch in New Zealand?

A press release from Nielsen (not online at the time of writing) says Mozilla Firefox is winning New Zealand  users from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

It is, but Microsoft’s browser still accounts for a 60 percent market share. According to Nielsen, Internet Explorer dropped from 72 percent to 60 percent between July 2006 and July 2009. Over the same period Firefox climbed from 11 percent to 20 percent. The remaining market share goes to rats and mice – with Google’s Chrome picking up just 3.2 percent of the market.

At the current rate, it’ll be at least two more years before Microsoft’s market share drops below 50 percent – and longer again before Firefox goes past Internet Explorer.

Nielsen’s press release doesn’t explain what it means by market share. The company manages a net measuring business where it tracks traffic to a number of commercial websites. The traffic information includes browser data, so we can assume Nielsen  adds up each browser’s share of the total traffic to these sites. Because Nielsen’s clients are among New Zealand’s busiest sites, it is a reasonable measure of total share.

What Nielsen doesn’t measure is the way many users, myself included, switch between browsers for different jobs. I’d also like to see data on which versions of the various browsers are used.

There’s also no mention of mobile browsers – which may still be a freak show – but are likely to grab market share quickly now New Zealand has two reasonable mobile data networks.